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Mental Health at the Mic: Childhood, Loneliness, and Suicide

OC87 Recovery Diaries is proud to present the third and final part of a series of portraits of men who have participated in the Philadelphia’s Engaging Males of Color BEyond Expectations storytelling series.

This post features the story of, and interview with, Kamren Washington-Richards, a seventeen-year-old student who attends Boys Latin of Philadelphia Charter School. In addition to his studies, Kamren works at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, through a program called PACTS – Partnerships for Advancing Careers in Technology and Science.  (more…)

Interview With Psychiatrist Dr. Larry Real (Part 1)


Dr. Larry Real and Bud Clayman

This is part one of a two part interview. Follow this link to read part two of Bud Clayman’s interview with Dr. Larry Real.

I first met Dr. Larry Real in 1992, when I was mentally sick and in a lot of emotional trouble. I had already begun to show symptoms of bipolar disorder, and was not sleeping well, no matter when I tried. My mom, Lila, had been part of a family group that was sponsored by AJMI (Alliance for the Jewish Mentally Ill) which later became the Jewish support group, Tikvah. When she saw that I was beginning to lose it, she contacted Larry, who was a co-founder of the group, and he suggested that the three of us meet.

I was very reluctant because I wanted to be left alone, and God only knew what he had planned for me! When we first met, I was zoned out and very fearful. But Larry laid it all out on the line for me: I needed some type of assisted living facility for people with mental illness. I needed to learn how to become independent again and manage my illness, because I did have an illness, whether I wanted to admit it or not. At the end of the meeting Larry said something like, “And you’ll need to learn how to flip a burger again for yourself.” I was always ordering take-out and eating unhealthy foods during my illness.

I have reminded him about that statement over the years and we both always have a good laugh, but it was true. And although I have been out of assisted living and on my own for fifteen years now, I still owe a lot to Larry and my mom for getting me on the road to recovery. I am proud to say that I can now call Larry a friend and colleague and not just another doctor who has passed though my life.